how to remove wall tiles

Whether you’re replacing old tiles with new porcelain or natural stone or giving your replacing a single, broken tile, knowing the safest and easiest way to get tiles off a wall will make the job that bit easier. In this article, we’ve outlined how to remove wall tiles, as well as the equipment and tools you need.

Whether you’re removing and replacing old tiles with new porcelain or natural stone, or giving your room a refresh with a new surface entirely, knowing exactly how to get tiles off a wall will make the job that bit easier.

With that in mind, in this article, we’ve explained how to take tiles off your wall (including how to remove tile adhesive from a wall), as well as the best way to remove and replace a single, broken tile.



What equipment do you need when removing wall tiles


Before you can start removing wall tiles, it’s important to gather the correct tools and equipment to guarantee a top-quality job. The below list includes practical kit, while some is also important for your own safety:

- Safety goggles
- Protective gloves
- Dust mask
- Dust sheets (you can use old cardboard or similar to protect your floors)
- Hammer or mallet
- Chisel
- Scraper
- Dustpan and brush
- Grout remover
- Masking tape (not essential)
- Drill (not essential)

Once you have gathered the above kit, you can begin removing your old wall tiles.



The best way to remove tiles from a wall


In the following steps, we’ve outlined how to remove wall tiles quickly, safely and without damaging your floor and surrounding walls.

1. Prepare your floor

Before removing wall tiles, it’s important to prepare your floor to protect against dust and residue, including sharp shards of falling tile! Firstly, move any surrounding furniture or trip hazards out of harm’s way, and lay a dust sheet.

If you don’t have a dust sheet to hand, large pieces of cardboard will suffice. The goal is to prevent floor damage, so you’ll be fine as long as something is there’s to catch the debris. One thing to bear in mind, though, is just how far dust can travel – so be sure to extend your floor protection.

2. Start removing your tiles

While wearing your goggles and protective gloves, you can start removing your wall tiles. If possible, identify a tile that’s already damaged or coming loose, as this will make for an easier starting point.

If none of your tiles are already loose or cracked, give one a gentle tap with your chisel until it begins to break. Once broken, using your chisel and hammer/mallet, start prying away the pieces.

3. Chisel away your remaining tiles

Once you’ve chipped away part of your first tile, you should be able to continue working you way along your wall. Don’t be disheartened if you find it hard to remove the first tile, as this is typically the hardest – the following tiles should be easier.

If you’re wondering how to take tiles off the wall efficiently, we’d suggest fitting your chisel into the space underneath part of the original, broken tile and begin levering to pry away your tiles bit by bit. The deeper you can fit your chisel, the bigger the breaks will be (if you’re removing large chunks, make doubly sure your floor is protected).

4. Scrape away the remaining adhesive

Once you’ve taken down the final tile, you’ll need to remove the stubborn, leftover adhesive. You can usually just use your chisel and hammer/mallet for this. Try to avoid removing the plaster below, though, as this might result in you needing to have any holes professionally filled in. For the best results, remember to take your time. A rushed job can increase the risk of mistakes or damages.

5. Tidy up the area

Finally, give your wall a quick once over with a brush to remove any leftover dust, and start tidying up. Using your dustpan, sweep up any large pieces of residue, before vacuuming your floor to pick up the dust.



What if I’m removing and replacing a single tile?


While the above steps are appropriate if you’re removing an entire wall of tiles, if you’re just replacing one broken tile, you’ll need to be a little more careful to prevent damaging the surrounding area. While some of the steps are similar to those above, some are specific to removing one wall tile:

1. Prepare your tile: Gather your equipment and begin by sticking a strip of masking across the tile you want to remove. Masking tape is technically optional, but will help prevent your drill from slipping, which could cause damage to surrounding tiles.

2. Drill through your tile: Starting drilling through your tile (through the masking tape), being careful not to go all the way through to your wall. Drilling your tile will likely cause the tile to crack, which will make it easier to remove. If you don’t have a drill to hand, you can follow the same process as above, gently tapping at your tile with a chisel until it begins to break.

3. Remove the grout: Before you start to remove the cracked tile pieces, you should run a grout removal rake along the perimeter to weaken and remove the grout. This will make the tile pieces easier to chip away.

4. Chisel away at your tile: Starting from the drill hole, start chiselling away at your tile. Beginning in the middle reduces your risk of damaging surrounding tiles.

5. Remove the old adhesive: Using a scraper, carefully remove the old adhesive, being careful not to lose control and knock an adjacent tile.

6. Brush away the dust: Using a brush, lightly brush away any final residue. This cleans and prepares the surface for you to install the replacement tile.


You’re now ready to take on the tasks surrounding tiling your wall, while taking care to use the right tile adhesive for a clean job!

Of course, if you’re interested in learning more about removing wall tiles, get in touch with our team of experts, who’ll be more than happy to help, or discover even more insight within our full range of tile advice articles.